Battleship USS North Carolina
1 Battleship Road Northeast, Wilmington, NC, USA
www.battleshipnc.com - (910) 251-5797
Battleship USS North Carolina Wilmington Reviews
Ship, ahoy! Jul 05, 2013
So, after almost six years of living in Wilmington I finally toured the town’s main attraction. Necessary motivation was thanks to old friends visiting over the July Fourth holiday. When John and Jody arrived for a quick tour of my back yard, the USS North Carolina was at the top of their destination list, so away we went.
The USS North Carolina was launched in June of 1940, the first new battleship built by the US in twenty years. She was technically advanced, heavily armored and chock full of heavy artillery. Everything was put to good use, as the USS North Carolina would be involved in practically every major naval exercise in the Pacific during WWII, providing cover for beach landings (including Guadalcanal) and shielding all US aircraft carriers in the theater (the Enterprise, the Saratoga and the Wasp). In one conflict her firepower was quite evident – while furiously shooting tons of flak at Japanese fighters, the smoke rolling off her guns prompted the Enterprise to radio and ask if she was on fire!
In spite of receiving significant damage several times (most critical was a torpedo hit that ripped a 32x18 foot hole in her hull and killed five crewmen), the USS North Carolina would get patched up and return to the fray right through to the end of the terrible conflict. Afterwards she was decommissioned in 1947, languishing until purchased by the state of North Carolina in 1961 and towed to her final resting place on the Cape Fear River across from downtown Wilmington.
Entrance fee is $12 for adults, which gets you beyond the gate for a self guided tour. There is an entrance building with several rooms serving as a museum before you board the ship, and these displays set the tone for what follows. I was struck by the “personalized” nature of the exhibits, which constantly offered quotes from officers and crew who served on the battleship. It was quite tasteful and provided genuine insight around some brutal life and times.
The ship itself is enormous and features plenty to tour. Just walking the main deck and being amazed by the number of big guns was fun, but you can venture topside or down below, exploring plentiful nooks and crannies. There is ample documentation of what you are seeing and I found it to be an interesting and educational experience. I agree with the recommendation of reserving at least two hours for a leisurely walk-through, but you can easily spend much more time here. There is a wealth of artifacts and information to keep your attention. Recommended.
Part of the North Carolina travel blog
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